Partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a topic discussed and an agenda attempted to be implemented by various parties in regional politics during the course of the 20th century. The issue particularly came to prominence during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, involving Bosnia and Herzegovina's largest neighbors Croatia and Serbia. As of 2013, the country remains undivided, except through the internal political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the 1995 Dayton Agreement.

Background[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a single entity occupying roughly the same territory since the rise of the medieval Kingdom of Bosnia and the subsequent Ottoman conquest of Bosnia between the 1380s and 1590s. The borders of today's Bosnia and Herzegovina were largely set as the borders of the Ottoman-era Eyalet of Bosnia, fixed in the south and west by the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz, in the north by the 1739 Treaty of Belgrade, and in the east by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin.

Although formally under Ottoman sovereignty, Austria-Hungary occupied the Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 before officially annexing it in 1908. Following World War I and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the territory passed in whole to the newly formed Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. In 1922, it was internally divided into six Oblasts of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia[edit]

In 1929, the oblasts were replaced with four Banovinas of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but all of them also included regions outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Cvetković-Maček agreement that created the Banovina of Croatia in 1939 encouraged what was essentially a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia.[1] The agreement angered Bosniaks, then known as Yugoslav Muslims, including the Yugoslav Muslim Organization (JMO) that denounced the agreement's partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[2]

During the Yugoslav Wars[edit]

The Serb and Croat political leadership agreed on a partition of Bosnia with the 1991 Karađorđevo agreement and the 1992 Graz agreement, resulting in the Croat forces turning against the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croat-Bosniak war (1992–94).[3]

In 1992, negotiations continued between Serb and Croat leaderships over the partitioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[4]

Franjo Tuđman argued that Bosnia-Herzegovina should form part of the federal Croatian unit because it was linked historically to Croatia.[5] Tuđman did not take a separate Bosnia seriously as shown by his comments to a television crew "Bosnia was a creation of the Ottoman invasion [...] Until then it was part of Croatia, or it was a kingdom of Bosnia, but a Catholic kingdom, linked to Croatia."[6] From the view of Tuđman, expressed in 1981, a federal Bosnia-Herzegovina "was more often a source of new divisions between the Serb and Croat population than their bridge".[7] Moreover, Tuđman observed that from an ethnic and linguistic viewpoint most Bosniaks were of Croatian origin.[5] A Bosniak identity could only benefit the Serbs and hence advance the timing of Bosnia's "reasonable territorial division".[7]

According to the testimony of Warren Zimmermann, the last US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Franjo Tuđman claimed that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be divided between the Croats and the Serbs. "Tuđman admitted that he discussed these fantasies with Milošević, the Yugoslav Army leadership and the Bosnian Serbs," writes Zimmermann, "and they agreed that the only solution is to divide up Bosnia between Serbia and Croatia".[8][9][page needed] Zimmermann also testified about Tuđman's fears of an "Islamic fundamentalist state" who referred to Izetbegović as a "fundamentalist front man for Turkey" and accused them of "conspiring to create a Greater Bosnia" by "flooding Bosnia with 500,000 Turks."[10]

Mario Nobilo, a senior advisor of Franjo Tuđman, confirmed to Tim Judah that talks "to resolve the Yugoslav conflict by carving up the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and creating an Islamic buffer-state between them" took place.[11]

Testimonies of other American and British politicians such as ambassador Herbert Okun (a US veteran diplomat) suggested that the meeting was about the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[12] Lord Paddy Ashdown also confirmed that the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Croatia and Serbia was a goal of Franjo Tuđman.[13][14]

Stjepan Mesić held Milošević responsible for "creating a Greater Serbia on the ruins of the Former Yugoslavia".[15][16] Mesić revealed thousands of documents and audio tapes recorded by Franjo Tuđman about his plans during a case against Croat leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina for war crimes committed against Bosniaks.[17][18] The tapes reveal that Tuđman and Milosević ignored pledges to respect Bosnia's sovereignty, even after signing the Dayton accord.[17][18] In one conversation Tuđman told an official: "Let's make a deal with the Serbs. Neither history nor emotion in the Balkans will permit multinationalism. We have to give up on the illusion of the last eight years... Dayton isn't working. Nobody - except diplomats and petty officials - believes in a sovereign Bosnia and the Dayton accords."[18] In another he is heard telling a Bosnian Croat ally: "You should give no indication that we wish the three-way division of Bosnia."[17] The tapes also reveal Tuđman's involvement in atrocities against the Bosniaks in Bosnia including the Croatian president covering up war crimes at Ahmići where more than a hundred Bosniak men, women and children were terrorised, and then shot or burned to death.[17][18] When asked if "Tuđman's view was that Bosnia was a mistake and that it was a mistake to make it as a republic after the Second World War and that it should be annexed to Croatia", Mesić responded "Those were his ideas, that Bosnia was supposed to belong to Croatia on the basis of a decision that should have been adopted by AVNOJ."[19]

The Milošević-Tuđman plans for Greater Serbia and Croatia are seen to have been implemented by ethnic cleansing, with over 97,000[20] Bosnians (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina) killed and more than 1.5 million expelled.[21] This can be regarded as going from a situation where no region could be described as purely Bosniak, Serb or Croat to a situation where the former Yugoslavia moved towards regions of ethnic homogeneity.[21][22]

The policies of the Republic of Croatia and its leader Franjo Tuđman towards Bosnia and Herzegovina were never completely transparent, but always included Franjo Tuđman’s ultimate aim of expanding Croatia’s borders.[23] In the Tihomir Blaškić verdict, the Trial Chamber found that "Croatia, and more specifically former President Tuđman, was hoping to partition Bosnia and exercised such a degree of control over the Bosnian Croats and especially the HVO that it is justified to speak of overall control."[5]

Bosnian Serb involvement[edit]

Radovan Karadžić, the first president of Republika Srpska.

Most of the Bosnian Serb wartime leadership Biljana Plavšić,[24] Momčilo Krajišnik,[25] Radoslav Brđanin,[26] Duško Tadić[27] were indicted and judged guilty for war crimes and ethnic cleansing. The former president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadžić is currently under trial.[28] The top military general Ratko Mladić is also under trial by the ICTY in connection with the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre.[29] Serbian president Slobodan Milosević was also accused of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and war crimes in Croatia,[30] however he died before judgment concurred.[31]

The ICTY judged as follows:[32]

The Trial Chamber found that the strategic plan of the Bosnian Serb leadership consisted of "a plan to link Serb-populated areas in BiH together, to gain control over these areas and to create a separate Bosnian Serb state, from which most non-Serbs would be permanently removed".[26] It also found that media in certain areas focused only on SDS policy and reports from Belgrade became more prominent, including the presentation of extremist views and promotion of the concept of a Greater Serbia, just as in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina the concept of a Greater Croatia was openly advocated.[27]

Bosnian Croat involvement[edit]

On 13 October 1997, Croatian weekly Feral Tribune published a document drafted by the Bosnian HDZ in 1991 and signed by its leading members Mate Boban, Vladimir Šoljić, Božo Raić, Ivan Bender, Pero Marković, Dario Kordić and others. It stated, among other things, that "[...] the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina must finally undertake a decisive and active policy that should bring about the realisation of our centuries-old dream: a common Croatian state."[33][34]

Based on the evidence of numerous Croat attacks against Bosniaks, the ICTY Trial Chamber concluded in the Kordić and Čerkez case that by April 1993 Croat leadership had a common design or plan conceived and executed to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley.[34] Dario Kordić, as the local political leader, was found to be the planner and instigator of this plan. Further concluding that the Croatian Army was involved in the campaign, the ICTY defined the events as an international conflict between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.[35] Kordić along with commander Mario Čerkez were sentenced to 25 years and 15 years respectively.[36]

In the Tihomir Blaškić verdict, of March 2000, the Trial Chamber concluded "[...] that Croatia, and more specifically former President Tudjman, was hoping to partition Bosnia and exercised such a degree of control over the Bosnian Croats and especially the HVO that it is justified to speak of overall control."[5]

Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić, and Berislav Pušić were all charged with being part of a joint criminal enterprise with a purpose of politically and military subjugating, permanently removing and ethnically cleansing Bosniaks and other non-Croats from certain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an effort to join these areas as part of a Greater Croatia.[37] It is stated in the amended indictment (Prlic et al. case) by the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), that at a meeting with his closest advisers and a group of Croat nationalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Franjo Tuđman declared that "It is time that we take the opportunity to gather the Croatian people inside the widest possible borders." pointing out the opportunity to expand Croatia's border at the expense of Bosnia and Herzegovina's territory.[38][39][40] The indictment regards not just Franjo Tuđman, but also other key figures from the Republic of Croatia including former Minister of Defence Gojko Šušak and senior General Janko Bobetko as participants.[41] The amended indictment goes further to say:[38][39]

The Prosecution submitted that part of the Greater Croatia-Herceg-Bosna program had at least three important goals.[38][39]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Imamović, Mustafa (1996). Historija Bošnjaka. Sarajevo: BZK Preporod. ISBN 9958-815-00-1
  2. ^ Motyl 2001, pp. 57.
  3. ^ Silber, L (1997), Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation. Penguin Books, p.185
  4. ^ Lukic, Reneo; Lynch, Allen. 1996. Europe from the Balkans to the Urals. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 210.
  5. ^ a b c d "Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaškić - judgement". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2000-03-03. 
  6. ^ Tanner, Marcus (2001). Croatia: A nation forged in war (second edition). New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09125-0. 
  7. ^ a b Tuđman, Franjo (1981). Nationalism in contemporary Europe. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-914710-70-2. 
  8. ^ Mahmutćehajić, Rusmir; Jones, Francis; Bowder, Marina (2000). The Denial of Bosnia. Penn State University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-271-02030-3. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  9. ^ Zimmermann, Warren (1996). Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers. Times Books. ISBN 978-0-8129-6399-1. 
  10. ^ Mahmutćehajić, Rusmir; Jones, Francis; Bowder, Marina (2000). The denial of Bosnia. Penn State University Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-271-02030-3. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  11. ^ Judah, Tim (12 July 1991). "Creation of Islamic buffer state discussed in secret". The Times. 
  12. ^ "BH partition plans in form of a stain". Sense Tribunal. April 2, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  13. ^ Kay, Sean (1998). NATO and the future of European security. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 82. 
  14. ^ Meurs, Wim (2003). Prospects and Risks Beyond EU Enlargement: Southeastern Europe. VS Verlag. p. 168. 
  15. ^ Lattimer, Mark; Sands, Philippe (2003). Justice for crimes against humanity. Hart Publishing. p. 16. 
  16. ^ "Milosevic trial: Croatia’s President Mesic gives evidence". 
  17. ^ a b c d Sherwell, Philip; Petric, Alina (2000-06-18). "Tudjman tapes reveal plans to divide Bosnia and hide war crimes". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  18. ^ a b c d Lashmar, Paul; Bruce, Cabell; Cookson, John (2000-11-01). "Secret recordings link dead dictator to Bosnia crimes". London: Independent News. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  19. ^ "Testimony of Stjepan Mesić from a transcript of the Milošević trial". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2002-10-02. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  20. ^ "JUSTICE REPORT: Bosnia's Book of the Dead". Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  21. ^ a b Kurspahic, Kemal (2006). "Chapter 6: From Bosnia to Kosovo and beyond: mistakes and lessons". In Blitz, Brad. War and change in the Balkans. Cambridge University Press. pp. 76–86. ISBN 978-0-521-67773-8. 
  22. ^ Banac, Ivo (2006). "Chapter 3: The politics of national homogeneity". In Blitz, Brad. War and change in the Balkans. Cambridge University Press. pp. 30–43. ISBN 978-0-521-67773-8. 
  23. ^ "Prosecutor v. Naletilic and Martinovic - Judgement (Historical Background)". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2001-02-22. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  24. ^ "Prosecutor v. Biljana Plavsic judgement". Biljana Plavsic was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. 
  25. ^ "Prosecutor v. Momcilo Krajisnik judgement". Sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment 
  26. ^ a b "Prosecutor v. Radoslav Brđanin - Judgement". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  27. ^ a b "Prosecutor v. Duško Tadić - Judgement". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 1997-07-14. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  28. ^ "Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić - Second Amended Indictment". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  29. ^ "Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladic - Amended Indictment". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2002-11-08. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  30. ^ "Milosevic et al. - Amended Indictment". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  31. ^ "Report to the death of Slobodan Milosević". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. May 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  32. ^ "Prosecutor v. Momčilo Krajišnik - Judgement Summary". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  33. ^ "Plans for a 'Greater Croatia' (document)". Bosnia Report. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  34. ^ a b "Prosecutor v. Kordić and Čerkez - Judgement". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 
  35. ^ "HRW: Conflict between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia". 
  36. ^ "Judgement of Trial Chamber III in the Kordić and Čerkez Case". United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 
  37. ^ "The Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić & Berislav Pušić". 
  38. ^ a b c "View from the Hague". 
  39. ^ a b c "Session from the Prlić case". 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  40. ^ Ponte, Carla Del (January 2009). Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity's Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity. Other Press. ISBN 1-59051-302-9. 
  41. ^ Initial Indictment - Prlic et al

Sources[edit]